Vanderbilt University Founded
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Cornelius Vanderbilt
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Prior to the Civil War, the Methodist Episcopal Church South desired a local university to train Methodist ministers. The original plan was to open "The Central University of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South" in Nashville in 1872, but a lack of financial resources provided a setback.

Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the wealthiest businessmen in the United States at the time, agreed to donate $500,000 to endow the university upon persuasion from Bishop Holland Nimmons McTyeire, who was a strong proponent for the university. The endowment eventually reached one million dollars, and Vanderbilt University was officially founded in the spring of 1873.

Though the university’s board of trust was predominantly under the control of the General Conference of the Methodist Church for the first 40 years, increased conflicts over governance and non-Methodist teachers eventually led the university to sever its ties with the Methodist Church in 1914.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Methodist/Pietist Family: Other ARDA Links


Vanderbilt University, Old Main- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-det-4a08981

Cornelius Vanderbilt portrait- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-109888

Bishop Holland McTyeire portrait- Hathi Trust- from Paasing Through the Gates by Holland Nimmons McTyeire

Kirkland Hall, Vanderbilt University- photo by Zeamays at English Wikipedia

Old Mechanical, Vanderbilt University- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Dansan4444
Web Source(s)
Vanderbilt University's Official Website
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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